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THE KETEKE IS COMING: $230m APPROVED FOR REVAMP OF RAILWAYS

General News

The government has approved a sum of US$230 million for the Ministry of Railways Development to purchase standard-gauge rolling stock to help modernise Ghana’s rail sector.

The government has approved a sum of US$230 million for the Ministry of Railways Development to purchase standard-gauge rolling stock to help modernise Ghana’s rail sector.

This is to ensure that by the time the railway lines are ready ‒ whether new or whether existing lines being rehabilitated under the Ghana Railways masterplan ‒ the rolling stock will be available to test the lines.

“That will be the largest amount of rolling stock that is being bought at a single time since independence ‒ arguably since 1898,” Joe Ghartey, Minister of Railways Development, said at a press briefing in Accra yesterday.

Careful decision

Rolling stock in the railway industry signifies any vehicle that moves on a railway line, both powered and unpowered vehicles, such as locomotives, railroad cars, coaches and wagons.

Mr Ghartey however disclosed that the purchase orders are yet to be placed. This is to enable consultants to decide carefully which type should be purchased.

“We are buying 30 locomotives; we are buying coaches; we are buying wagons and so on.
“We haven’t placed the orders yet, because we have consultants who are looking at what kind of cargo we need, vans that can take oil and so on,” the Minister said.

Duration

He told journalists that it takes between 12 and 18 months for rolling stock to be made ready after it has been ordered.

He added that he hoped some of the stock will arrive in the country by September this year at the latest.

“The least time to get rolling stock is between 18 and 12 months. Rolling stock is not like a car you can buy, and so we are running out of time.

“There could be a situation where some of the lines would be finished and we will have no rolling stock to test them,” the Minister said.

Trains for all

Mr Ghartey also said that the development being undertaken in the sector is to ensure the well-being of Ghanaians, regardless of partisan benefit.

“We are developing this nation for Ghanaians, regardless of political affiliations. That is the vision of President Nana Akufo-Addo and a vision that I will assist him to achieve,” the Minister said.

Responding to questions about fares, Mr Ghartey said the Ghana Railways Company has reduced the cost of a ticket for a passenger on the Accra-Tema route from the initial GHC5 to GHC3. The reduction is to ensure that more people patronise the service, he said.

Mr Ghartey admitted that passenger volumes since the launch of the Accra-Tema shuttle have not been impressive.

“Patronage, I must confess, could have been better. We’ve tasked the Ghana Railway Company to look at it, and even with the GHC3 per person, they’ll look at it,” he said.

“They won’t look at it in terms of reducing it, but I agree with you that a flat rate has its own problems. And you must put in place a system that allows people to pay different rates for different rides.

“It is work in progress.”

Design speed

The final engineering design speed for the project is 160 knots per hour, the Minister said, with an axle load of 25 tonnes, up from the initial 22.

The development plan covers the Western Line (Takoradi-Kumasi; 435.4 kilometres with a branch line from Dunkwa to Awaso), Eastern Line (Accra-Kumasi; 303.9 kilometres), Central Line (covering Kotoku-Huni Valley; 198.84 kilometres), Central Gap (Kumasi-Tamale; 373 kilometres) and Tema-Paga (783 kilometres).